Eco-Friendly Edible Packaging Systems Based on Live-Lactobacillus kefiri MM5 for the Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Fresh Vegetables
To meet consumer requirements for high quality food free of chemical additives, according to the principles of sustainability and respect for the environment, new &ldquo;green&rdquo; packaging solutions have been explored. The antibacterial activity of edible bioactive films and coatings, based on biomolecules from processing by-products and biomasses, added with the bacteriocin producer Lactobacillus kefiri MM5, has been determined in vegetables against L. monocytogenes NCTC 10888 (i) &ldquo;in vitro&rdquo; by a modified agar diffusion assay and (ii) &ldquo;on food&rdquo; during storage of artificially contaminated raw vegetable samples, after application of active films and coatings. Both polysaccharides-based and proteins-based films and coatings showed excellent antilisterial activity, especially at 10 and 20 days. Protein-based films displayed a strong activity against L. monocytogenes in carrots and zucchini samples (p &lt; 0.0001). After 10 days, both polysaccharide-based and protein-based films demonstrated more enhanced activity than coatings towards the pathogen. These edible active packagings containing live probiotics can be used both to preserve the safety of fresh vegetables and to deliver a beneficial probiotic bacterial strain. The edible ingredients used for the formulation of both films and coatings are easily available, at low cost and environmental impact.